May 17, 2012
What started out as lip-sync spoofs of Carly Rae Jepsen popular hit “Call Me Maybe” is now a worldwide contest involving the SMU Rowing team and the Harvard Baseball team — and NBC Today Show's morning anchors.
The Today Show website even put the video rivalry up for a vote, and the Mustangs came out victorious with 47.2 percent of the vote to Harvard’s 46.5 percent. (Recreations of the teams’ dances by the Today anchors earned 6.3 percent of the final tally.)
The Harvard team posted their video May 6 and the Mustang rowers responded a few days later with their own version, telling the John Howards (it's Harvard's mascot) "Ball's in your court!"
On Thursday, May 17, the Today Show crew threw down their own version, inviting SMU and Harvard to do live performances of their videos — and inviting everyone to compare.
On the set of NBC Today Show
From The Tonight Show with Jay Leno:
The Story Behind 'The Story'
It started as a way to kill time on the way to the Conference USA championship tournament, turned into a viral video sensation, and landed the SMU Women’s Rowing Team on NBC’s Today Show – all in a matter of days. Here’s the back story, from 21-year-old sophomore Emily McCombs, whose steady hand is behind the camera work for the video that has made the girls famous for their upside-down, legs in the air lip-sync to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe:
“We were in the van, riding to the race course for the Conference USA championship (May 11-12, Oak Ridge, Tenn.) and the song came on the radio,” Emily explained. The Harvard men’s baseball team’s deadpan video version of the song had been out long enough to attract about 5 million views, including members of the SMU rowing team.
“One of our girls started pounding on the ceiling and said, ‘Hey – let’s do this Harvard baseball style. But our trainer, Drew Yoder, said, ‘If you really want to do something, you should lay down and do it with your feet.’”
They practiced in the van between rowing events throughout the tournament weekend. “It was funny every time we did it,” Emily said. “One girl consistently kept messing up. We’d get angry at her – but in a fun way. It was really funny, too, to make sure that everyone’s toes were hidden. Sometimes you would see them popping up over the seat.”
By Sunday, May 15, the rowers were ready to head back to Dallas. They videotaped the final version in the van on the way to the airport and posted it to YouTube.
“We got 50,000 views in just a day and a half!” Emily crowed. “I saw one of the Harvard guys on Facebook – I messaged him the link to our video and said, ‘Bring it!’”
The big online following generated by the Lady Mustangs’ toe-tapping video quickly turned in to a media sensation, and the invitation to appear on the Today Show arrived on Wednesday, May 16. Within hours, the rowers were headed to New York to meet the Harvard baseball team for a friendly challenge on the plaza outside the NBC studios, where both teams recreated their performance for a live television audience.
“It was tons of fun and a great way to spend our 15 minutes of fame!” Emily said.
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